Unsolved problems in physics

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Unsolved Problems
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Unsolved problems in …

These are the problems which imprison humanity and the world around us. To solve a problem in physics doesn't just mean coming up with new equations that explain things. It means inventing ways to overcome things we currently think are physically impossible. While few can relate to new equations, many more can relate to tangible triumphs in physics that overcome the impossible. Such as being in two places at once, even with someone watching you.

edit Can you use entanglement theory for your own personal gain?

You need to discover some utility to that most bizarre part of Quantum Mechanics, which Einstein referred to as "Spooky action at a distance". Could this part of voodoo physics be used to do things like: cause your boss's pants to fall down spontaneously just because you did something else at another location; or for a butterfly's wings to flutter, causing good weather in another part of the world for a change? Why does it always have to be a freakin' hurricane?

edit Nobody said that Entropy was a one-way street

No, I never heard anyone saying that entropy always made things worse in the universe, but that is the impression the theory leaves you with. Especially coming from that darned Second Law of Thermodynamics. It's a depressing theory, suggesting that things will just get worse with time. That is a problem for us all, and an unsolved problem. Now, no one is asking you to un-break an egg or anything show-offish like that. Just help us clean up our universe a little.

edit Perpetual-Motion Machines

A perpetual-motion machine would be nice. But a real one this time. The unsolved problem in this area of thermodynamics is that everyone says that "no system is 100% efficient". Your job is to prove them all wrong. While your gizmo never needs to speed up, it should never slow down. If you are building a gasoline engine, it should give off no heat and the parts should never rub together. This way, there is no energy loss due to friction. There is no prize for this category, since any discoverer is destined to become a bazillionaire many times over.

edit Antigravity Cats

Antigravity Cat

Phear the Antigravity Cat!

While antigravity cats have been thought of as a perpetual motion device, one must be reminded of what the article states: strapping a slice of buttered toast buttered side up to the back of a cat will cause an equilibrium state where the tendency of toast to land buttered side down cancels out the tendency for the cat to land feet-side down. What is produced instead is anti-gravity, but since all vectors cancel, no new energy can be produced. No new energy means that there is no new motion. But more to the point, if you hit the antigravity cat with a tennis racket with sufficient force, it may move horizontally as a hovercraft does, theoretically forever until it hits a building or a boulder which will then retard its motion absolutely. Air resistance may slow down its motion gradually over time if nothing gets in its way.

An unsolved problem with antigravity cats, is that no one has tried to fire an antigravity cat from a cannon from about 100 meters above sea level with sufficient initial force to hurl it clear across the Atlantic Ocean. 100 meters is suggested so that the antigravity cat does not interfere with airplanes, fishing boats, frigates, or oil tankers that happen to cross its path. There is the ever-present likelihood that it may collide with migrating flocks of birds along the way.

It is unknown what firing an antigravity cat from a cannon would do without experimental evidence. To say that it can be hurled clear across the Atlantic is to suggest that it is following the Earth's curvature. Following the Earth's curvature is an effect of gravity. So, instead, it is more likely that the antigravity cat would end up gradually leaving the Earth's atmosphere as the curvature of the Earth falls away from the path of the antigravity cat. Soon, it will leave the Earth's orbit, and then leave the solar system.

edit The Three Buddy Problem

It has been widely known that one buddy knows what he is doing; and two buddies usually agree to do something together. However, the problem with three buddies is that there is no way to predict how or what they will do exactly. One of the three buddies always has a different idea which influences the other two buddies in unpredictable ways. They usually arrive at an agreement together by reducing their conflicts to a series of two-buddy problems.

There is also that one buddy can bump into an anti-buddy, annihilating both of them. Then we are once again down to a two-buddy set of problems.

edit If what goes on in the black hole stays in the black hole, then what's all that crap coming out of it?

Cygx1 ill

A typical black hole depicted by NASA demonstrating that some kind of crap comes out of the black hole through the middle.

That's right. Stuff is supposed to go into a black hole, not come out of it. Physicists have their theories as to what that crap is, but there is no first-hand proof. All you need to do to solve this problem and win your place in history is to go near a black hole, take a sample of this crap streaming out the middle of it, and return to Earth. That's all.

So, you bring your black hole emission sample back to Earth, 6,000 light years away and you let a physicist identify what the heck you got. Of the problems described in this article, this one is the simplest, isn't it? Just try not to get caught up in the cosmic racking. But now there is a new problem ...

edit Time travel in a timely fashion

One does not simply crap

This well-known unsolved physics problem has generated its own Internet meme.

Try to travel the 6,000 light years that it takes to get back to Earth from your black hole without travelling back in time, and make it here in your lifetime. But you don't just want to come back in your lifetime. A journey that takes even 10 years can get pretty dull. What would you do with your spare time in a space ship now possessing black hole crap that you dare not touch until trained experts arrive? I would think you would like to, say, leave Houston in the morning to make splashdown in the Pacific by say, mid-afternoon. That way, you're home in time for supper, having done the whole thing while the kids are at school. And tomorrow's another day. That is, we need a way to time travel, but in a way that does not interfere with the flow of our lives at home.

edit See Also

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